A World Series championship for Zachary

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Features Editor

Dreams do come true, but not often for those athletes who dream of a World Series Championship.

But for, Zachary Evans, the dream eluded him, but the reality landed right square on his 6-year-old shoulders.

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Zachary is a member of the Northport All-Stars who brought the 2001 Dizzy Dean 6-Year-Old World Series Championship to Alabama for the first time when they defeated the Georgia State Champions in the final game of the series July 28 in Boynton, Ga.

For Zachary and his teammates, bringing home the championship would have seemed like an impossible dream. But, little boys don’t know much about dreams and even less about impossibilities.

The Northport All-Stars went into the World Series July 21 as a dark horse but quickly turned into the Cinderella team of 2001. The Northport nine had finished fourth in the state tournament and earned a trip to the Dizzy Dean World Series by the skin of their teeth.

Their fans would not have been disappointed or surprised if the Northport coach-pitch team played six innings and were out, but the little kids surprised them – again and again.

Jeanette Holiday, Zachary’s grandmother and Goshen resident, said the World Series began July 21 with 57 teams from across the country competing. She and her husband, Bobby, thought they would be back home on Monday, but instead were sitting in the stands July 23, when the double elimination phase of the series began with 16 teams, including Northport.

Zachary, who played the pitcher’s position, catcher and outfield for the Northport All-Stars, wasn’t in awe of being there. He was just playing ball and having fun.

"Except we wanted to go in swimming in the daytime and we couldn’t," he said. "But, at night, after we played we could go in and that was fun."

Keeping a team of 6-year-olds in a harness from game to game was no easy task. They had more energy reserves than their parents. They were like the Energizer Bunny –

they just kept on going and going and winning and winning.

"Northport came to the tournament as the fourth place team in Alabama and they had to play against the first place teams in several states, including the Tennessee State Champions," Holiday said. "But, it seemed like the more they played the better they played. Their coaches were wonderful. They didn’t get down on the boys if they made a mistake. They always encouraged them and you could tell our team was playing to win but they were also having fun."

Zachary said, next to winning the World Series trophy, his most rewarding moment came in the game against state rival Cordova, a team that had beaten Northport in the state tournament.

It was a made-for-the-movies situation. The score was knotted at 6. The bases were loaded with two outs in the bottom of the last inning. Zachary calmly walked to the plate and brought in the winning run with a sizzling line-drive to the outfield.

Zachary was rewarded with high-fives and pats on the back and was hoisted high in the air for his heroics, which helped to send Northport to the championship game against the Georgia State Champions.

"The Georgia state team had played together all season and they had a regular season record of 34-0," Holiday said. "They had gone through the World Series undefeated and Northport had to beat them twice to win the championship."

For a fourth place team to be facing a state championship team that had not tasted defeat, a World Series Championship seemed to be an impossible dream. But the Northport All-Stars weren’t dreaming; they were in control of their destiny.

When the dust settled in Boynton, Ga. July 28 "mighty Casey had struck out."

The Northport All-Stars had beaten the giant 12-6 and 7-3 and claimed the title of World Series Champions.

They received a team trophy and individual trophies and had gained the admiration and respect of a lot of people. Then, they made a mad dash for the swimming pool.